Reporting on the Mexican Cartel Drug War

La Línea

Wednesday, October 14, 2009 |


The criminal organization is a straight line, they say. All the drug dealers, hitmen (sicarios), the police who protect them and the mules who carry the cocaine to the U.S. must all be aligned. The Juarez drug cartel created a new term used to describe their organization.

They call themselves "The Line" (La Línea). Nobody knows exactly why they used that terminology, but everyone likes to give its own interpretation and meaning.

And they all fear it.

"I am in La Línea," say druglords who suddenly seem to easily avoid any problems with police or are able to pass through check-points with no problems. "I have joined La Línea," new drug dealers confess to their friends when they join the organization. "In that truck are traveling members of La Línea", often people say who are familiar with the name.












It's a new terminology used often in Ciudad Juarez. But perhaps it's more than that, it's a concept.

Several police chiefs who were asked about La Línea say that Amado Carrillo Fuentes, the Lord of the Heavens (El Señor de los Cielos), did not use the terminology. That was an idea of his brother Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, who inherited the command of the Juarez Cartel upon the death of the boss in 1997.

The terminology has been in used in Juarez for three or four years now, especially in the underworld.


"Intially I do not know what it was," said a policeman named Victor. "I joined the department two years ago, and I had never heard the word. Until one day during a check point a man from a van said: I'm from La Linea, and a colleague told me that we had to let him go. We let him passed unchecked. "

Victor had asked his companion what that word meant, and was told some mysterious explanation. "They are the bosses of the main plaza. They are called La Línea." Since then officer Victor, lets them pass and lets them walk at will all over the city.

"Nobody messes with them. It is impossible. I was told that they are protected and no one can do anything about it," the officer said.

A few months ago, officer Victor learned of an incident that heppened to a police friend of his who was humiliated by La Línea. "My friend had arrested some armed men, but later they came back to see him. They took out their AK-47's (cuernos de chivo) and had him get on his knees. They put the assault rifles to his head and told him never to mess with La Línea. The next time you die. "

Since that day, Victor does not dare lay an eye on them.


"Sometimes I see them arriving by convoy. Sometimes they park and get out armed to the teeth. One can't do anything. The only thing I do is turn the other way, as if I did not see them," says Victor. "You just can't go against them. I wanted to be a policeman and fight crime, but that would require removing all top heads of the command. It must be an initiative from the very top, like from the President of Mexico, because La Línea has people everywhere, "he said.

Many people I know in the city know individual members of La Linea. It may be a cousin or a childhood friend or a long time school acquaintance. There are so many of them that almost everyone knows someone. La Línea has their networks in gangs like "Los Aztecas" who are hired killers (sicarios), and the municipal police commanders that protect their precious cargo.

Also the state police that are paid, and even judges and prosecutors. Also aligned (as in La Línea) are the mules who pass the drugs to the other side of the border, the taxi drivers who are the network of information and let's not forget "the poles" (people in street corners who are the ears in the neighborhoods).


A young business professional man named Mario Juarez said that one of his college friends, joined La Línea. "He was my best friend, and was middle class. He then graduated college and disappeared for some time. Later I saw him at a restaurant and he was very well dressed, wore a gold chain and was driving a new expensive car. He said he had found a very lucrative business," Mario said. Two or three years later, Mario saw his friend again at a school reunion. The guy was driving a very luxurious SUV.

"He said I'm from La Línea. I'm doing very well. Soon I will allocate a large sum of wealth," Mario said. "I did not say anything, but it scared me. It has been about a year and I have not seen or heard of him. He is no longer seen anywhere here. Maybe he's in jail, or has been executed, or plainly moved to another city."

Most citizens here are afraid of La Línea. After two years as a policeman, Victor also fears them. "They are in charge. They give the orders. It's unbelievable, but that is just how it is.

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1 Borderland Beat Comments:

Anonymous said...

Aztecas street gang – you will be caught and have done to you what you do to others. You all are nothing but scum no one cares about you. your only power is when you have guns lets see how you defend yourself with armored vehicles and tanks.
we should send a nuclear missile to Mexico… fuck them all. we keep giving them chances and all they do is go around killing people, stealing, and drug trafficking…….
As to the drug organization La Linea you will one day parish and never be remembered…..
I will be glad when you low lifes all die off.
Your day is coming…. keep killing people its only leads authorities closer to your hide outs!!

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